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Braised Pork Chops

Marsala, traditionally produced in western Sicily, is generally thought of as a fine dessert wine, but it is also excellent for cooking. A blended wine with a rich amber color, it comes in three basic styles: dry, or secco; semidry, or semisecco; and sweet, or dolce. Sweet Marsala is best used in or as an accompaniment to desserts, while young, dry Marsala makes a superb kitchen wine for savory dishes, as in this quick and easy secondo.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork loin chops, each about 1 inch thick 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste  
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine 
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • Grated zest of 1 orange 

Directions:

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the chops are tender but still pale pink and juicy when cut into the center with a knife, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Add the Marsala to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Return the chops to the pan and sprinkle with the orange zest. Cook, basting the chops with the pan juices, for 2 minutes.

Transfer the chops to a warmed platter or individual plates, spoon the sauce over the top and serve. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).